Waikiki Ham Balls

America’s fascination with Hawaii and Polynesian culture reached a fever-pitch in the 1960s. The proliferation of tiki bars, Elvis’ Blue Hawaii, and even Gilligan’s Island contributed to a time when you couldn’t throw a toothpick at a church potlock without hitting a pineapple slice.

This recipe appeared in the May 26, 1966 edition of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:

ksu_folder A family recipe provided by Jennifer Kiel of Washington, DC, from her mother-in-law’s collection, started in Kent, Ohio.


Waikiki Ham Balls

1 1/2 lbs. ground cooked ham
1/2 lb. ground pork
2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp. shortening

1 can (1 lb. 4 oz.) sliced pineapple
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup peach preserves
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. dry mustard

Combine first six ingredients; mix well. Shape into balls using round tablespoon for each. Brown in hot shortening on all sides. They are delicate and hard to handle. Remove from skillet.; drain drippings.

Drain pineapple, reserving syrup and add enough water to make one cup. Combine with remaining ingredients; heat to simmering stage. Add ham balls; cover; simmer until meat is thoroughly done, turning balls several times to glaze evenly, about 30 minutes. Cut pineapple slices in half; add to meat balls; heat. Serves 8.

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